Frequently Asked Questions.

I’ve had a “positive FOBT” test and have been referred for a colonoscopy.

What does this mean?

A Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is a method for detecting hidden blood in bowel motions. It is most commonly used as a screening test for bowel cancer, and is given to patients either by their local doctor or as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

It is important to emphasise two points:

  • This test is NOT a cancer test. It does not detect cancer. It simply detects hidden blood in bowel motions

  • This test is designed to identify individuals without symptoms who may have an early bowel cancer. Patients who have symptoms (such as rectal bleeding or altered bowel habit for instance) should be individually assessed to investigate these issues.

If a patient returns a positive FOBT, the usual recommendation is to investigate things further with a colonoscopy depending on individual circumstances. The vast majority of colonoscopies do not show signs of cancer, but instead show benign conditions such as haemorrhoids or diverticulosis, or are in fact normal. If polyps are seen at the time of colonoscopy, these are removed and sent to a pathologist. Although some polyps can become cancerous, most are detected and removed prior to this stage and require no further treatment apart from surveillance. If a lesion is seen during the colonoscopy which raises suspicion of a cancer, multiple samples (biopsies) are taken to investigate things further.


What is “Open Access” endoscopy?

Gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures can sometimes be expedited using "Open access". Although a GP referral is still received by Mr MacLeod's rooms, depending on the indication for the procedure you may elect to meet Mr MacLeod on the day of the procedure rather than have an appointment in his rooms in the days or weeks prior. This "open access" option is usually reserved for patient's with more straightforward indications for endoscopy, such as polyp surveillance or Positive FOBT. More complex patients usually would benefit from a review in Mr MacLeod's rooms prior to any procedure.

Mr MacLeod’s rooms will contact you to discuss the option of being seen on the day of the procedure rather in in the rooms in the weeks prior, and provide clear instructions regarding appropriate hospital information and bowel preparation. Once in hospital, prior to your endoscopy you will have an opportunity to discuss the procedure at length and have all questions answered.

Whilst some patients prefer to have their gastroscopy or colonoscopy expedited using this “open access” model rather than waiting for an appointment, Mr MacLeod is certainly more than happy to see you as a consultation prior to any planned procedure if that is your preference.


Why use the title “Mister (Mr)” instead of “Doctor (Dr)”?

The use of the title “Mr” by male surgeons dates back as a surgical tradition from the 18th century, when physicians were in possession of formal doctorate but surgeons had no such formal qualification, and as such were titled “Mr” rather than “Dr”.

This tradition is commonly adopted in the UK as well as in Victoria, however interstate surgeons often use the title “Dr”. Female surgeons in Victoria sometimes use the title “Miss” rather than “Dr” following the same surgical tradition.

From Mr MacLeod’s perspective, finishing medical school in 2006 gave him the privilege of using the “Dr” title. However, subsequently being awarded the FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) for completing specialist training in General Surgery was a very proud honour indeed, so he continues to title himself “Mr” instead of “Dr” in keeping with this long-held surgical tradition. 


I still have questions about my procedure, who can I ask?

You should always feel well informed prior to any procedure. Mr MacLeod will take time to explain any proposed procedure in detail, and you will have to time to ask questions. However, if you think of any further information you would like or have more questions, please contact Mr MacLeod’s rooms for either discussion over the phone or an additional appointment.


Can I take my medication before my procedure?

Instructions regarding your usual medications will usually be given at the time of your consultation with Mr MacLeod or with the anaesthetist at a Pre-Anaesthetic Clinic (PAC). If you have any questions regarding your medications, or if you have been commenced on a new medication by your GP prior to your procedure, please contact Mr MacLeod’s rooms for further advice.


Can my surgery be postponed?

If circumstances arise which mean you may need to delay your procedure, please call Mr MacLeod’s rooms to discuss postponing your surgery. Rescheduling your procedure is often possible, however because theatre lists often need planning well in advance the sooner you can notify us the better.

From time to time it may also be necessary to for the hospital to re-schedule your procedure. This is not a decision taken lightly, and we respect that this change can have implications for arrangements you have already made for your recovery period. However, from time to time urgent cases need to be scheduled, or severely unwell patients are admitted through the emergency department who require emergency surgery. These events are uncommon, and only as a last resort are elective patients rescheduled.


I’ve been reading about doctor’s fees and “gaps” - what is this?

A “Gap” is a fee a doctor charges for a procedure above that paid by a private health fund. If you are being admitted as a public patient, Gap Payments do not apply to you since your care is funded by Medicare. There has been a lot of discussion in the media regarding some doctors charging high Gap Fees to patients.

Mr MacLeod does not charge a Gap Fee for his procedures.


Does Mr MacLeod do procedures in his rooms? How much does this cost?

Yes. We have a minor-procedure room at Wangaratta Specialist Centre at 6 Green Street. Common procedures performed under local anaesthetic include:

  • Biopsies

  • Skin cancer removal

  • Mole removal

  • Cyst removal

More complex procedures are best performed in an operating theatre, under either a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with sedation. Mr MacLeod will discuss with you whether a procedure can be safely performed in our on-site procedure room, and if this is appropriate then a subsequent procedure booking can be made. Alternatively, some patients would prefer a procedure not to be undertaken under local anaesthetic alone, and in such circumstances admission to hospital for day procedure using sedation or a general anaesthetic is more appropriate.

The cost of local anaesthetic procedures in the rooms is $100. This covers the cost of our disposable equipment, local anaesthetic, sutures, staffing and dressings.


Where does Mr MacLeod consult?

Mr MacLeod is based in Wangaratta. His consulting rooms are located at Wangaratta Specialist Centre, 6 Green Street Wangaratta, and he consults here most Tuesdays.

Mr MacLeod also consults from:

  • Yarrawonga Hospital

  • Mansfield (Central General Practice and Mansfield Medical Centre)

  • Benalla Hospital

Please contact Wangaratta Specialist Centre for an appointment here.


Where does Mr MacLeod operate?

Mr MacLeod operates at the following locations:

  • Northeast Health Wangaratta

  • Wangaratta Private Hospital

  • Yarrawonga Hospital

  • Benalla Hospital

  • Mansfield Hospital

  • Surgical Consulting Rooms (Wangaratta Specialist Centre, 6 Green Street, Wangaratta - minor procedures only)